Could it be that the fact that the 1960s "me" generation of so-called free love, dedication to self more than to community and others is now taking its toll in bringing the West an epidemic of narcissism? And what of the children of these self-centered people? As we well know, many of the so-called free love baby boomers have morphed into yuppie greed mongers. And these folks reproduced! So now we have a bunch of narcissistic CEOs, who have passed on their own messed up "priorities" to their offspring. The emptiness and danger to our planet as these folks actually have any kind of power over others is frightening.
I have been been speaking to a number of people in Europe and the U.S. over the past few months, including therapists, healers, mothers, young women, environmentalists, high school students, journalists... basically a cross-section of human beings, and every single one of them agrees narcissism is more prevalent than ever before. It is getting worse! It seems every person I speak to about this has a horrific story of encountering people who lack empathy, act like bullies, believe themselves to be part of some kind of elite, or who have abused others, including their own children, in order to fill their narcisisstic egos.
The trail of destruction has lead many to the therapist's office, and the number of books being sold on the subject of narcissism, emotional vampires, and victims of abusers is simply astounding. Articles are appearing left and right with titles such as "Is your Boss a Psychopath?" "How to Spot a Narcissist," "Emotional Vampires," or, my favorite: "How to be a Narcissist Witout Being a Jerk" (as if that were possible).
Says this article from Slate: "One of the key traits of narcissistic personality disorder is having the feeling that 'the rules don't apply to you.' You are special. You are different."
If you are wondering whether or not you are a narcissist (you might be, as they have a tendency to read about themselves), take this test: http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/narcissistic.htm.
I scored a four, which is below the average. Narcissists score over 20. I began to wonder why I just did not care about power, or leadership, or being exceptional. Frankly, I don't really care about what anyone, except maybe my daughter, thinks of me. And I realized why: Because I think everyone on this planet is exceptional, including myself. I believe people have much to teach us and that we truly are equals. I was raised to believe that people, given the chance, can make something of themselves. But I do not value someone being wealthy or having stuff or having power as being successful. I value more human traits such as kindness, empathy, sharing, openness, ability to be comfortable in their own skin and thus not envious of others. In fact, I feel very strongly that if we had more leaders, more politicians, more CEOs who had these human qualities and not the narcissistic ones, the world would be a much better place. We have really messed it up!
And we are messing it up for future generations if we keep up with this narcissism! Do these vampires not realize that they go to the bathroom and when they are naked are simply human beings like everyone else? What is with the fear of dying and aging? Can't we do these things gracefully anymore?
I once met a father who advised a man who was with a single mom to make use of his girlfriend's 7-year-old daughter's school network of parents for business contacts! People send their children to certain schools not simply because they are good schools, but because it will help their own social status and professional networking. Parents who push their children to "succeed" so that it rubs off on them as parents are absolutely frightening individuals. One wonders if they actually deeply care for their children or if they are simply expressions of their own narcissistic needs.
I pray that the false shell of egotistical and inhuman treatment of one another slows down in the years to come. Maybe it will take great tragedy in order to set the balance right. But sadly, I feel it will be the fact that narcissists end up destroying their own from the emptiness that is created within and as they feed on one another, until they destroy one another.
We all die. We all age. We are all perfect and beautiful, but some of us do not know it. Thus, the damaged ones build up artificial shells of humans who control and promote lifestyles of greed and moral relativitiy and pass it on to their children.
I long for a world where there is no plastic surgery simply to appear younger, where growing old gracefully is the most cherished way to be, and where people are not empty shells, hiding behind masks of narcissism, but simply human beings, vulnerable and full of love and empathy.